The Lost Forties
Permit me to make you laugh a little. And what better way than to relate some of the more unfortunate online dating experiences of yours truly!?
If you’re reading this, are single, and in your forties, please join me in shouting a louder than loud “heeeeeeeeelp!!”. Then take a deep breath, listen to what I have to say, and maybe get in touch when you finish reading, so that we can mope together as we consume whatever alcoholic beverage is most suitable for our tenuous state of well-being.
Upon realising in August that Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as wonderful as they are, don’t actually keep one warm at night, I decided to make more of an effort in my pursuit of love and happiness. Hence, it was with renewed energy and purpose that I resumed my search for love. However, having recognised that I’m quite possibly the most unsuited individual to online dating on this planet, I opted to search for a dating agency that focuses rather less on online and more so on the real world – actual personal contact, like… er…a voice call, maybe?! I figured, ‘hey, I’m great at building rapport with people so surely my chances of success should be far greater – right?!
Lo and behold, after some determined and painstaking research, I stumbled across an agency that focusses on off-line dating.
I was thrilled to bits, and so dived-in with 100% certainty that I’d finally found the solution to six years of uninvited bachelorhood. Okay, maybe the adventures of the first two /three years were fun (analyse that as you see fit), but the last three years or so have been nothing short of panic. Thankfully, I have some amazing close friends and siblings who regularly tell me to be patient and wait for God’s time. Their love and assurance is always timely and ever so welcome, but in an age wherein we spend an eternity peering into the seemingly happy and blissful lives of all and sundry on Instagram and Facebook it usually doesn’t take long before one’s default state of anxiety returns.
Anyway, I digress.
Back to my most recent adventures.
I had a really good feeling about this particular agency, as there was much more of a personal touch; and the overall objective is to encourage members to actually get in touch via telephone, as against sending precarious one-liners in vain hope they’ll be read in a positive light.
What a wonderful and novel idea!! I was even prepared to cast-off my penchant for looks first, character later!
After completing the registration process, I had to wait a month or so before receiving the first set of profiles. I rather liked the idea of receiving this via post as against viewing them online.
Unfortunately, you can take the man away from online but you can’t take him away from his true ‘visual’ self.
As I opened the envelope in what can only be described as feverish excitement, I sang ABBA’s ‘Thank you for the music’, in cheerful recognition that those long lonely winter evenings would soon be a distant memory.
This was it! My moment! Read, view, hopefully like both, then call. There was absolutely no way my perfect match wouldn’t be in that envelope!
As I clicked on episode six of suits on Netflix some minutes later, I wondered whether I was forever consigned to a lifetime of work, work, work during the week, and bingeing on TV series during weekends.
Oh, sorry – didn’t like any of the profiles. And yes, I did read before viewing. Promise! But whilst I may have found some of the profiles interesting, I wasn’t attracted to any of them. Not that I’m particularly special to look at, but in my view if you’re not attracted to someone there isn’t too much you can do about it. Does that make me a bad person? Or am I simply shallow and foolish? Maybe a bit of both. But I still believe it is important to be attracted to the person you’re with. Surely that’s perfectly normal, right?!
As is often the case, it takes two /three days for me to react to something or someone that has irritated or upset me. A few days later I called the agency to inform them I would no longer be subscribing to their services. Indeed, I was quite relieved to be getting their £44 a month bill off my direct debit list.
ME: “Good morning, my name is Olusegun Akande. I’m a member.”
Customer Service Rep (CSR): “Good morning Olusegun, how are you?”
ME: “I’m very well, thank you. So sorry about this, but I’ve come to realise that dating agencies simply aren’t for me. I think I’m best when I meet someone naturally.”
CSR: “Oh, we are so sorry to hear that, Olusegun. Are you sure?
ME: “Yes, I am. It’s been at the back of my mind for a while now, but I’ve finally come to accept it.”
CSR: “Once again, we are so sorry to hear that Olusegun. We hope you’ll find the right person soon. In the meantime, your £44 a month payment will cease once your twelve-month subscription is over.’’
ME: “Sorry, what do you mean? I’m going to have to keep paying the £44 a month, even though I won’t be using your services?”
CSR: “Unfortunately so, Olusegun. It’s in the agreement.”
ME: “…………well…..if you really think it’s right to keep charging someone for a service he’s no longer using, then be it on your conscience.”
As I’m sure you can imagine, that was the end of the conversion.
Several minutes later, the following reality check blazed mercilessly through my mind;
‘Conscience? Conscience, Segs?? What bloody conscience??? It’s business. You should have read the fine-print, you idiot!!’
But I do have one gripe with that agency – what if you meet someone through them and you both decide you want to get married after eight months of dating? Surely by enforcing the final four months’ subscription they are inadvertently encouraging both individuals to be unfaithful!?
However, any-which way I look at it, the bottom line is I screwed up.
But hey, who knows, as my work colleagues Michael and Naresh keep telling /mocking me, maybe I’ll get a better batch next time!
As a result, I’ve very reluctantly returned to the hapless world of online dating and decided to give Bumble a try. I rather like Bumble’s concept of matching people that like each other, with the onus on the female match having to make the first move. Not only does it remove the pressure of clueless males such as myself having to think of something interesting or witty to say in order to break the ice, but it also means that when a lady gets in touch you can be fairly sure she actually likes you.
Within a couple of hours of registering last Saturday morning, I was matched with two very attractive ladies. In other words, two gorgeous ladies swiped right after viewing my picture and reading my profile!
Awesome start or what!!?
I spent the next four /five hours waiting for one of them to get in touch. I even prepared a series of responses in anticipation of imminent connection. It didn’t take long for my wait to turn from excitement, to anxiety, to utter despair. Fortunately, I had a date with Arsenal vs Watford at the Emirates stadium, so my attention switched to football throughout Saturday afternoon. Once the excitement of Arsenal’s new-found ability to win games in which they play absolute rubbish subsided a few hours later, I checked my Bumble app to see whether either of my two female admirers had got in touch. Nothing…not even a hint of a hello!
And since then the like and messages section has been…..well…empty.
But this time I’m determined to stick it out until something good happens. And you, my dear readers will be updated on my progress, or lack of, on a monthly basis.
I continue to hope someone out there I like will actually like me back.
At present, I can’t help thinking that online dating is a bit of a mug’s game. Unfortunately, one has no choice but to play it these days. For it seems it is no longer normal to approach someone you like in person. In-fact the underlying notion of today’s world is ‘real, personal contact is weird, but online is cool.’ What kind of world have we managed to get ourselves trapped in??
I’m still certain online dating isn’t for me. For it goes against what I believe is the single most important aspect of human existence – real-life interaction. But hey, what choice do I have. Because my brain works best in the mornings, I’m up at 5am on weekdays, work all hours of the week, and more-often-than-not in bed by 9.30pm, so going out in the evenings on weekdays ain’t gonna happen; and as a former wild child my days of bar hoping and clubbing on weekends are long gone.
My dearest friends tell me to be patient and wait for providence to take its natural course.
Great advice, but damn difficult to adhere to.
Fortunately, I haven’t watched any episodes of Bodyguard yet (that’s what we bingey’s do – we wait for the series to end so that we can do what we do best – watch episode after episode in our own perfect time), so at least I won’t be feeling too single this weekend. Instead, I’ll be watching the whole season of Bodyguard with one of my two BFFs and her hubby, who happens to be one of my four BMFs.
Thank God for BBC iPlayer and Netflix!